Hydrostatic testing is one of the most common methods for testing hoses, pipes and other pressured vessels. If the test is successful, it then qualifies the product to be used under a specific stress or environment and for a specified length of time. The market for scientifically proven pipes, hoses and assemblies is extremely competitive. These products need to bear up against stringent and methodical testing over a long period to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
Hydrostatic testing is typically conducted under the specifications of the hydrostatic testing supplier, the industry standards or the customer. Generally, the testing is carried out inside a sealed and closed system to minimise any errors and give ultra-precise readings. A regular test procedure is to fill a container with a liquid that has incompressible properties, usually water, dyed water or oil, and then to place the vessel (i.e. the hose) inside the container and apply pressure inside the closed system. The applied internal pressure and the duration are normally always fixed.
This known pressure is typically a great amount larger than the usual specified operating pressure of a device – generally around 150%. As the pressure is applied it causes the vessel to expand and both the permanent and the total pressure expansion are carefully measured.
These measurements, together with internal and external visual checks, are used to ascertain whether or not a pressurised vessel can be used safely. This also gives an understanding of the lifetime of the container – this is typically determined by the exemption or specification to which a pressure vessel has been manufactured. A product must be condemned if its structural integrity is abnormal, is degraded or if it fails.
This is an extremely important testing procedure to identify how safe and/or durable a device is under pressure and also to identify any leaks that a vessel may be prone to developing. These hoses and pipes can be used to transport dangerous or hazardous substances – areas where there is no room for errors or manufacturing floors.
All quality hose testing and hydrostatic testing companies keep computerised records of their products and will monitor each unit throughout the course of its lifetime. This ensures that mistakes are kept to a minimum and if any unexpected problem occurs the computerised systems will quickly notify the user or the manufacturer.